Your baby's physical and emotional milestones
Your baby will continue to master those skills he's been trying so hard to get right in month 4 and 5. Getting your baby to sit for longer periods of time will be his and your challenge for this month but it will be so exciting when you can finally place him on his bottom on the floor to play contentedly with a few toys.
Your baby has started to learn cause and effect and so dropping toys from his pram over and over again becomes his favourite game. He's also learnt object permanence so when something is removed from his vision he will remember that it was there and want it back. In month 4 this would not have been the case and he would have been indifferent to a toy that had fallen on the floor. Your baby really starts to talk this month, with his “sentences” taking on a similar rhythm to your spoken language.
Starting solids is one of the biggest developmental milestones in your baby's life and an exciting one for you. Before you give your baby his first spoon of real food, here are a few things you should consider:
Homemade baby food really is best to begin with.
Your baby will not eat very much at first and when you begin introducing solid food it’s often more of an exercise in getting your baby used to the texture of food and teaching him to get food to the back of his mouth
Starting solids is messy so make sure you have plenty of bibs and find a bit of floor covering to put under the high chair so cleaning up doesn't take as long
Keep to your milk feeding schedule, as your baby will still be relying on milk for most of his nutrition for now.
Fruit to introduce to your baby:
- Apple purée, mashed banana, puréed mango, pears and peaches
Introduce only single fruits at a time in case your baby has a reaction to one of them.
It doesn't matter what time of day you give your baby his first meal but make sure he's happy and alert, and that you have time so that your patience isn't tested.
There is a school of thought that suggests you try new foods in the morning so if your baby has a reaction it's during the day and your night won't be disturbed.
Vegetables you can introduce:
- Puréed green beans, carrots, peas, potato, sweet potato and squash
Grains you can introduce:
- Rice cereal, barley
Stimulating your 6-month-old baby
Your baby is sitting with more confidence and his ability to reach and grasp is also becoming more precise. Help him build on his quickly growing skills.
Give him a ride on your shoulders, holding his thighs firmly with both hands. Riding high will help him develop balance and control, and will also give him a chance to look at the world from a different perspective.
Play ball with your baby as you sit across from him, propped up in another adult's lap. Encourage him to roll it back to you.
Improve your baby's finger dexterity by giving him a few smaller objects to pick up and place in a bowl or jar.
Expert advice for month 6
At this age your baby realises that he is an individual and separate from his mom which means that he becomes anxious in the company of strangers (or people he does not often see) and cries when you leave the room – or go to work.
For some babies this insecurity can last until the age of two, but it usually eases off when they become toddlers, striving for independence and learning to get what they want verbally or through body language.
Your baby's clinic card
By now your baby's clinic (or Road to Health) card is filling up with immunisations, milestones, height and weight progress and advice from the clinic sister.
This is an important document because it records your baby's health and development and could be used as an assessment tool should your child have learning or developmental problems in early (or later) childhood. Keep it in a safe place.
Exercising your baby
Your baby will also enjoy standing and bouncing on your lap. By doing this he is strengthening hip, knee and ankle joints and their supporting muscles.